Thursday, August 30, 2007

Proving that I AM a lemming

This post was completely inspired by Tiff's recent stroll down memory lane. I could not resist this particular bandwagon.

First up, one of my all time favorite pictures, not because it's particularly good, but you gotta dig the 1970's feel here. Plus, I'm totally cute in this. Of course, about 2.4 seconds after the snap of the camera, I'm fairly certain Nate and I were right back to trying to kill each other.
And No, we never outgrew that.
Next up, one of my favorite past times, right up until I discovered Jack Daniels, which I covered in a previous post. And this, clearly taken before I discovered that I was "worth it"..

Shortly after this, came the discovery of L'Oreal hair color and apparently Stevie Nicks type-dresses. The best thing about this photo is the girl on the right. That is Lace... you've read about her here before. Hopefully, she won't kill me for posting this. Heh. This very night Lace and I got into more trouble than you could possibly imagine. Someone got expelled, someone tore a door off a hotel bathroom, someone went traipsing through the woods fully believing a serial killer was stalking them and someone had sex in front of a group of people. Yea, people, this was HIGH SCHOOL.

A little out of order this one, but I had to throw in my High School Marching Band Photo too - got keep up with Tiff. And yes, I'm really in there, I was not however, a hand-waving poofter, here's a hint. I'm in the first row.

The Usual Suspects. This is where L'Oreal gets out of hand. Apparently in high school, my goal was to appear as close to dead as possible. The three people are Lace (she totally looks like she'd fit in your pocket, doesn't she?) Dee, and Dennis. This was the night I graduated from high school. The rest of the night was liter bottles of California Wine Coolers wandering around Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria.

And that is pretty much it. I feel like I should have posted a picture to prove that I did indeed realize my own hair color was just fine, and that looking like a corpse really wasn't that cool.

BUT I didn't so you'll just have to trust me.

Thank you for playing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A little off the top

Welcome to my 100th post.
I was expecting flowers.

Stress seems to be the theme of the month, or maybe two months. Everyone around me is traveling a rocky road right now. Some of the stress is less dramatic - things like starting a new job (Roo, I’m lookin’ at you); kids back in school/kids growing up; new job challenges; new relationships; new issues in old relationships; and some are bigger - like divorces; or getting a letter from your kids school discussing your child’s music teachers summer, which apparently included a sex change (and no, I’m not making that up).

While I’m in the middle of some of it, and have a bit of my own going on, I generally feel more stressed by watching everyone around me bear the weight of the trouble in their life. I am no Florence Nightingale, but when it comes to the people closest to me, I want desperately to just ‘fix it’. Which generally leads to me making cupcakes and home made soup; because that is what I do when I can't do anything else. What I want all you friend-people to know is how much I appreciate what you do for me, just by being in my life, and trusting me to share your burdens. And for the friend with the music teacher issue, I'm sorry, but I so needed *that* particular laugh.

Speaking of friends - please go visit my friend - 6 Truck (link to the right). He’s got a brand new baby blog - it needs love and encouragement, and, um, milk – or whatever it is that makes baby blogs grow. Mr. Truck and I went to the same high school, and as far as I can tell, he tracked me down just to make me laugh and tell me stories about my brother, something I’ll ever be grateful for - much like my silent friend in Texas who’s grateful that Bruce and the E Street Band are coming out with something new.

Take your gifts where you find 'em right?

Monday, August 27, 2007

As a general rule, I try very hard to avoid shopping, especially in places like Wal-Mart.
However there are times, (like today) when my “list of stuff I need” reads something like this;

contact lens solution
two small kitchen appliances
dog biscuits
paint brushes
one avocado
windshield washer fluid

(*shut up, I do so need these)

So, (insert sigh) Wal-Mart was the place.

As far as I can tell there is no good time to go to Wal-Mart, and if there is, it’s definitely NOT on a Sunday afternoon, the day before all the traditional calendar schools start, so I acknowledged that this was not one of my better decisions and prepared myself to be annoyed, I just didn’t anticipate being half way to pissed off before I ever reached the front doors. Apparently the known chaos that is Wal-Mart is now leaking into the parking lot.

1. If you are going to drive the biggest SUV on the planet - Learn to park it between the lines, cuz lady, it’s simply not anyone else’s fault that you are driving a vehicle that
a) you can’t really manage and
b) should have its own orbit.

2. I’m not a parent so I hesitate to criticize, BUT if your child is still in diapers, a t-shirt and no shoes, should said child really be running in between the row of cars a full row AWAY from you? I’m sure that conversation is very important, but surely less so than “junior” getting backed over or decapitated by a rapidly opening car door, right?

3. I’m sure being the ‘cart-retriever’ guy is a suck part of the job, and probably this weekend, with the back to school thing and the near 100 degree temps, the suck factor increased exponentially, but here’s the thing., trying to bring in 6,897 carts at one time, may be a good idea in theory, BUT if some part of this endeavor creates the scenario where the cart-train-thingie is diagonal across the row completely blocking the flow of traffic, it’s really not a good idea. Really. NOT. Next time? Two trips m’kay?

Surprisingly, the tour through the actual store wasn’t nearly as awful. Other than the volume of parents and children alike – what is that all about – when did it become okay for kids to scream for their parents? That kind of behavior was the stuff that made my dad say, “Scream my name one more time and I’ll give you something to scream about”.. Where’s the old man when the Wal-Mart patrons of the world need him?

On a final note, is there an extreme shortage of mirrors in the southern united states? What on earth are you people thinking when you walk out of your house?
Gentlemen, please, I don’t want to play “Gee what did he eat for lunch?” based on the stains on your shirts. Is it asking too much for you to throw on a clean shirt before going out?
Ladies, two things:
1) BRAS are your friend, and
2) just because it says ‘stretch’ does not mean you should tempt that fabric to give way.
I already know exactly what every stitch, stripe or polka dot is on your underwear (or *ahem* in some cases, the lack thereof), I do NOT need the, uh, expose (pun intended).


Note: the picture has nothing to do with the post; he's just cute.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I pretty much forget how small my little town in NC is until a reminder is kindly taped to my door.

That something, this time, was a handwritten note Cindy at the Town Government telling me I had mailed my water/trash/recycling bill in a timely fashion, however I neglected to actually enclose a check. (A pretty smooth move if I do say so myself.)

I called the number on the nice little handwritten note, and:

Cindy: Town of Bladdey Blah, can I help you?

Me: Hi, This is Cravey, and I…

Cindy: Oh hi Cravey! You got our note then?

Me: (thinking she recognizes my name?) Yes, I guess I forgot to include the check.

Cindy: Oh don’t worry honey, we all do that sometimes! (me thinking we do?)

Me: Um, okay, can I just come by tomorrow and drop off the check?

Cindy: Of course! You know where we are?

Me: Yes, I think so.

Cindy: Great, see you tomorrow then.

This morning I ran by to drop off the check and:

Desk lady: Can I help you?

Me: Hi, My name is Cravey and I....

Desk lady: Oh Right! (laughing) You forgot your check!

Me: Writing check – wondering what happened to the nameless faceless bureaucracies I’m USED to.

Desk lady: Thank you honey! Have a nice weekend.

I am from Washington DC.
I lived in the same condo for 10 YEARS.
I never even knew my neighbors last names.

Where the hockey puck am I ?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Kingsbury Road

Today is the birthday of the girl, MM, that was my best friend throughout grade and middle school. She and I were inseparable; I used to go to church with her on Sunday just so we could hang out that day, too. One of my clearest childhood memories is sitting on the curb in front of my house with her eating peanut butter and marshmallow sammiches, or eating Kool-Aid Powder because we weren’t allowed to walk to 7-11 and buy Pixie Stix. We were going to grow and be kindergarten teachers together. We were the best of friends right up til about 8th grade. When we met a group of boys.
(I know boys ruin everything, right?)

She was taken with CT; arguably the center of that group, the funny guy, the one that knew all the lyrics to all the songs, and always had a quick comeback. They dated for awhile but for him, it got old quickly. I don’t remember him saying anything directly to me, but I remember seeing the signs that he wanted out. It was painful to watch, her clinging to him (often literally) and him looking like he’d just stepped in road kill.

It did fall apart, and it wasn’t pretty. Especially, when not too much later the “new” friend (CC) in our little group of neighborhood friends starting dating CT. CC was the real deal for CT. He was stone-cold crazy about her – even I could see it. That new relationship fractured the childhood friendship in a big way. I remember the drama, the tears, the angry notes passed between classes. I also remember thinking it was Stupid. Maybe that was harsh, and maybe it was easy for me because I hadn’t yet felt for somebody the way MM said she felt for CT; but either way, I thought it was Stupid. It wasn’t something she ever got over. In her eyes, I had betrayed her by being friends with the new girlfriend. To say I disagreed, would be mild, the ‘new’ girl hadn’t done anything wrong. She didn’t steal CT from her, and MM’s clingy behavior was downright embarrassing. We eventually became friendly again, but I never trusted it, and neither did she.

CC and I became great friends and got into plenty of average high school trouble together, not to mention drank a whole lot of Jack Daniels together. (I realize that may not be ‘average’ high school behavior, but it seemed so at the time). MM still made appearances, and eventually started up with another guy in the group, JR. I feel like that was off an on for years, I feel pretty confident of that, because I can easily recall at least two other friends that dated JR.

JR, I think, looking back was the one guy I think that I should have given a chance. From 8th to 12th grade, people were constantly pushing him at me. His older brother’s girlfriend, every chance she got, CT, when drunk enough, and even in my own mind I knew how he felt. I remember him giving me a rose one night, under his deck in his backyard, and then walking me home. He always walked me home. I remember one year in high school he took me to homecoming, just because I wanted to go. So completely out of character for him, he showed up in a TIE (albeit with a Jack Daniels tie tac) and took me to that stupid dance. We were quickly bored, and we walked back to his house, me carrying my dyed-for-the-occasion heels. He was a very good guy. I don’t know why I never gave in and I don’t know when he gave up. I’m sure I hurt his feelings; probably more than once.

CT and CC eventually broke up; it was heart-rending. She went off to an out-of-state college, and he stayed right where he’d always been. I think they tried to keep it together for a year or so, but it just didn’t work. I drifted away from the group when she left, and became the one that showed up randomly, I think they were always happy to see me, but so much had changed; it never felt the same again.

JR, eventually married and had children with MM. CT married the little sister of someone who was also an occasional member of the group. Both couples are still married today, and CT still lives about 3 miles from where I first met him, and where we all made these memories.

I’m still in touch with some of these people. One or two of them come here from time to time and read and comment.

If CC sees this, I bet her memories would be altogether different, but no less true.

Generally speaking I don’t have any regrets about the decisions I made along the way. I do, however, think about these people and these years more often than any of the other people in my history, about the choices we made, and the ones we didn’t make. I wonder for all of us what would have happened .. If…

To MM, I hope you're having a happy birthday.

To the rest of you, thanks for everything.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Catch up Post

I know, I know, I’ve been absent lately. I don’t have any really good stories about the ‘why’ either. I’ve been busy at work, sure, busy with my puppy, sure., but the truth is I keep starting posts and half way through can’t figure out where I was going with it, and so I give up and go make cookies or something.

What follows is a pathetic attempt to make up for lost time - all requests or inquiries for suggestions of *real* posts will be at least entertained if not attempted.
Seriously folks, cuz I got a whole lotta not much these days.

Trolling the ‘net this morning – I stumbled onto this horoscope…

Have you been experiencing some bizarre dreams lately? Don't worry -- they aren't predictions of your future. They are simply signs that you have an extremely active subconscious right now.

This comes as somewhat of a relief, considering I’ve been dreaming about John McEnroe making potato salad and Spanish-speaking, kiwi-eating skateboarders zooming around my childhood home.

I helped a friend grout the tile walls in a bathroom the other day. Not something I’d ever done before, and I guess technically, he grouted and I, uh, ungrouted(?) (aka rinsed/cleaned up after him. It was far more fun than I had imagined something like that would be, but then again, I love painting, and leaf blowing, so maybe not such a surprise that I had a good time with this as well. I’m fairly sure the company had much to do with it.

My laptop died a week or two ago. The helpful helpdesk guy told me it “would just take an hour or so.” Fast forward to 6 hours later and helpful helpdesk guy bringing me a brand new Thinkpad. When I bust something, I do it right. I think this computer transition is what left me unable to comment on blogs for some time, and for that I’m sorry. You people got all funny and verbose the second I lost my ability to say anything in return. NCP, your comment on my maggots/magnets story still makes me laugh out loud when I think about it. And also, EW.

A week or so ago, I added a movie to my netflix queue; recommended by Neflix (supposedly based on my previous reviews) I think I will be spending a serious amount of time trying to figure out what I reviewed that made Netflix think I would enjoy a movie about two boys that were sexually molested by their baseball coach. One grows up to become a gay male prostitute and the other believes he was abducted by aliens. While not a bad movie, that rape scene will *never* be completely erased from my memory, no matter how many bottles of Pinot Grigio I drink. It was, far more disturbing than the Jodie Foster/Accused rape scene which I didn’t think would ever be topped.


My 20 year high school reunion came and went without my attendance. I was going to go, but with work etc., I just couldn’t make it happen. I did end up on a class mailing list, which landed a bunch of pictures in my in box one day. I must have looked at 75 pictures. My only thought – Who are these people? Judging by that, I don’t think I missed much. Maybe I‘ll try to hit the 25 year one. Maybe. Not.


And that is it from the Cravey.

Thanks for playing. Perhaps on your next visit, I'll have something funny, touching or otherwise entertaining for you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Huh? What's that dearie?

I didn't sleep worth a damn last night, I was awake every couple of hours, just crazy dreams (John Macenroe apparently makes kick ass potato salad) and my crazy insomnia thing that happens from time to to time.

My 6:00 am alarm (aka 5 month old puppy) went off as scheduled.
We played ball before coffee (note: do not try this at home, the manufacturer and our attorneys do not recommend this) I somehow managed to not get bit or step on either one of them (major accomplishment!)

Finally I get to sit down at my kitchen table with my first cup of coffee and log on to company intranet. First order of business - timesheet due by 3 pm today.

The TV is on in the next room and I find myself completely distracted and totally nauseated by the breaking news story that there has been a massive toy recall due to the discovery of "Maggots in the toys"..

I spent an hour trying ot figure out how maggots got into toys - don't ask where my mind went, it's not pretty - then decided I had to know and came out to listen to the whole story. There are "MAGNETS in the toys".

I'm sure magnets are bad.
Maggots are worse.

Pass the coffee pot,
and very possibly, a hearing aid.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Time Travel

On my trip to Pennsylvania in early May to pick out my puppy I was struck by how familiar the landscape felt as I drove away from Harrisburg Airport.

I was born in Johnstown PA - about two hours from Harrisburg - but I didn’t live there for long, my Dad's goal was to get his family out of coal-mining country, having promised his dad he would never go into the mines.
I spent a lot of time traveling back there to visit relatives, strapped into the backseat of the family Chevy Suburban, listening to my siblings argue, playing Punchbuggy!, or trying to catch bits of my parents conversation about my 'Crazy Aunt Betsy' (another post, another day).
It was surreal to be the driver this time, surrounded by the landscape of my earliest memories.

My satellite sister-Daisy called me when I was about an hour from the airport, downright giddy about my arrival. Daisy is the kind of friend that can get over-the-moon-happy about a dandelion growing in the corner of her yard, but somehow it doesn’t diminish the joy she feels over bigger issues. Her joy is the infectious kind; and so utterly genuine you can’t help but get caught up in it. That’s a special kind of happy in my book. I don’t own that kind of happy, and it feels really good to be a part of it even just for a few hours.

It was a whirlwind trip for me, we spent a few hours with the puppies, had dinner together, and after a little more visiting, I drove back towards the airport to find a hotel closer to the airport; no one should have to get up at 4 am to catch a flight that isn’t actually ON the flight.

I’m lucky enough to have friends like this, scattered here and there around the country, people that will drop everything to spend a few hours over a cold beer or a litter of puppies just to see me and catch up.

I imagine when I drive into Pennsylvania I’ll always feel my father’s presence, hear the noise of a Chevy Suburban packed full of kids, the CB radio squawking under the dash in between my mom and dad. I like it that my first Pennsylvania memory as an adult involved these friends, puppies and a landscape that reminds me of how I was able to leave, who I owe for that, and that I could make it back here, the person I am today.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Top Five Signs

(that you're working too hard and sleeping too little)
1. You pour your breakfast cereal into your dogs food bowl.

2. When making coffee, you fill your cup almost to the top with creamer and add just a dash of coffee*

3. You forget to take your socks off before stepping into the shower

4. You reach for the pencil behind your ear and it's not a pencil, it's a Twizzler.
5. You call your Project Manager and when you go to hang up you tell him "I love you".

*Mandy, this proves your people that need coffee shouldn't be making coffee theory.

Carry on people.